Racket on Pearl causes headaches

Sandra Lyons Rowe, coordinator of psychological services, has worked at Santa Monica College for five years. Her office in the psychological services department is nestled in a secluded corner of campus between KCRW and the school’s mailroom, overlooking Pearl Street. Rowe has enjoyed the peace and tranquility afforded to her in this campus respite, until it was recently interrupted by throngs of jackhammers and the sheer, trebly whine of cement cutters.

According to the college, the construction that started earlier this summer is for the installation of new bike racks. When completed, the depot will provide 400 new bike parking spots on campus.

In addition to new parking spots for bikers, the center houses a “fix-it station” where cyclists can repair minor mechanical issues and air-up tires.

While this may be a welcome addition for cyclists others, such as Rowe, aren’t too happy with the prospect of a construction crew on campus during the school semester.

“The noise is an issue,” Rowe says. “Privacy is huge and the importance of having quiet is big. We often have students coming in here who are very upset.”

Rowe also expressed concern with the loss of privacy outside her office and the added foot traffic the bike racks will bring when they are finished.

“Everything here is confidential,” she says. “We can’t close our windows in here because of the heat.”

Rowe is even worried that students might stop visiting the psychological services department.

“The last thing I want is students having to watch what they say,” she says.

Perhaps the largest group who are displaced by the construction are the smokers on campus, who have historically populated the area of campus now under construction.

“I feel like it’s a deliberate move to displace smokers,” second year Lucinda Landon says. “I think they are trying to keep smokers as far off campus as possible.”

The area is not just used by smokers, students also study there; Landon believes that the social aspect is destroyed and that it’s a destruction of a commons.

Second year Brett Newton is also upset.

“They have no concern for instantly affecting people emotionally; I couldn’t find some of my friends for a week,” Newton says.

Nick Carrion, a second year communications major and a smoker, doesn’t seem to be phased much by all the commotion saying it’s just louder and dustier.

Other students are excited about the new bike center.

“I’m looking forward to buying a bike after they finish,” Daniel Aguilar, a student who works with the Sustainability Center on campus says.

Aguilar, who helped design the project, thinks it will encourage more biking to school.

“A lot of students were complaining about not enough bike parking,” he says. “There have also been a lot of thefts of bikes on campus, this is going to be a lot safer.”

Although upset by the immediate destruction of wildlife, Aguilar was assured by the project’s attempt to keep as many trees as possible. When all work is finished, the site will benefit from a variety of new plants that have been chosen by the department.

The site is expected to open later this fall.

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